Ukraine: Daily Briefing – April 3, 2017, 5 PM Kyiv time

Ukraine: Daily Briefing
April 3, 2017, 5 PM Kyiv time
 
Task Force Sergeant-Major of Joint Task Force-Ukraine salutes top graduate of Ukraine’s National Army Academy in Lviv, 25 March. #OpUNIFIER. 
Photo – Canada at NATO
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that in the last 24 hours, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and one Ukrainian soldier was wounded in action. On March 31-April 1, no Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 14 Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action. Towards Donetsk, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions near Avdiivka with mortars. Near Svitlodarsk, Horlivka and the Donetsk airport, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions. Towards Mariupol, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions along the Pavlopil-Shyrokyne line. At Vodyane, Russian-terrorist forces shelled Ukrainian positions with mortars. Towards Luhansk, Russian-terrorist forces fired on Ukrainian positions near Stanytsia Luhanska and Krymske.
2. Canada’s Minister of Defence to meet with Ukraine’s Minister of Defence today
Canada’s Minister of National Defence Harjit S. Sajjan will meet with Ukraine’s Defence Minister Stepan Poltorak today in Ottawa “to discuss the Canada-Ukraine defence relationship,” Canada’s Department of National Defence reported. At 1:15 PM EDT, the photo availability will be live-streamed at https://www.facebook.com/CanadianForces
3. Ukraine’s President speaks with German Chancellor, French President
Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande today. President Poroshenko’s press service reported, “The parties discussed the situation in Donbas. Petro Poroshenko condemned the lasting aggression of Russia and the ongoing shelling, inter alia, with heavy weaponry by the Russian militants and servicemen despite the ceasefire declared on April 1. The parties underlined the need for consolidation of the ceasefire regime. The President stressed the importance of liberation of all hostages held in the occupied Donbas and in Russia. The parties confirmed the importance of further work towards the implementation of the Minsk agreements. President Poroshenko thanked Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande for supporting the introduction of the visa-free regime for Ukrainians.”
4. Atlantic Council: Is Russia getting ready to invade Ukraine again?
Writing for the Atlantic Council, Stephen Blank, Senior Fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council, wrote, “Recent Russian actions suggest a new stage of the Russian threat to Ukraine-and potentially to the Caucasus, Belarus, or the Baltic States as well-that could presage a new large-scale military operation. First, in 2016, Russia created twenty-five division formations and fifteen brigades, while raising manpower by only 10,000 men. This suggests the possibility that Russia may aim to wage protracted large-scale war using the Soviet model, with a Soviet-type army composed of ‘skeleton units’ that existed solely on paper until they were called up as part of the process of mass mobilization. […] Second, as part of that military process in 2016-2017, Moscow created the 1st Guards Tank Army, the 40th Army, and the 8th Army, and deployed them all around Ukraine’s borders. […] More recent deployments are even more ominous. On March 8, Moscow announced that the Russian Navy would prioritize ships capable of carrying troops that can perform amphibious operations, which could easily be used against Ukraine, the Balkans, the Caucasus, or in the Middle East. On the weekend of March 24, observers recorded dozens of tanks deploying at Pokrovskoye in the southern Rostov-On-the Don region near Ukraine. […] Cyber strikes are also continuing. Ukraine’s government estimates that in November and December 2016, Russia staged 6,500 cyberattacks against various Ukrainian institutions, including the defense and finance ministries and the treasury. […] There has also been a steady escalation in the number and size of Russian forces’ ceasefire violations since the beginning of 2017. During March 12-20 alone, there were 336 attacks that killed nine Ukrainian soldiers and wounded thirty-five. […] All of these actions, taken with the impending August/September Zapad-2017 exercise in Belarus, give rise to fears of a new intervention either in Ukraine, Belarus, or even the Caucasus, based on recent Russian deployments and actions. Moreover, Putin’s domestic room for maneuver has narrowed and economic reform or growth is unlikely. In addition, the army is experiencing manpower shortages and the Russian defense budget has probably reached the limits of its present capacity. […] It is likely that a period of maximum danger to Ukraine, Belarus, or the Caucasus is approaching.” The full article is available at http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/ukrainealert/is-russia-getting-ready-to-invade-ukraine-again

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